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(Pocket-lint) - Eastpak has long been the name backpacks, often seen adorning coach-loads of teenage tourists wondering the streets of European cities. We strapped on their Provider – designed for laptops – and walked the streets of London.

The Provider is a 38 litre sack split into three compartments – two large, and one organiser pocket, containing the usual zip pocket and detachable key ring. The bag measure 44 x 31 x 20cm, although side compression straps give you the flexibility to shrink the bag and stop things leaping around.

The crux of the Provider, from a Pocket-lint-ophile’s point of view, is the padded laptop section in the main compartment. This will fit a widescreen 15.4in laptop with no problems and provides a padded sleeve all-round – including the base. This is a marked improvement over some other backpacks that only provide a thin PU-nylon sleeve.

There is also enough space for your other essentials – the power pack and mouse - whilst leaving room for your other essentials. We managed a weekend away, taking the laptop, spare clothes and other essentials and it all went into the Provider.

One of the common complaints about carrying a laptop is this question about true portability. It doesn’t matter who you are, a chunky laptop carried on one shoulder soon begins to ache – but carried securely on your back, you hardly notice it is there.

If there was one point of failure, I’d say that the shoulder straps don’t feel like they will stand the test of time – they are padded, but the connection to the backpack feels like it would be the first thing to go. It this was being used as a college bag, transporting laptop, paper, and lots of books, then you might have a problem. For laptop, sandwiches, and the Tom Clancy novel, it doesn’t pose a problem.


The Provider comes in a range of colours - including funky camouflage (pictured) – and can be yours for around £50 from all good luggage stores. The laptop protection is good, if only the shoulder straps were a little more chunky, this would be a real winner.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 19 February 2007.